Wildfire briefing, September 10, 2014

Time-lapse video of Meadow Fire

time-lapse video of the Meadow Fire
Screen grab from the NPS time-lapse video of the Meadow Fire.

The National Park Service has posted a very cool time-lapse video of the early hours of the expansion of the Meadow Fire when it grew from 19 acres to over 700. More information about the Meadow Fire.

“Send the elevator back down”

Mentoring young firefighters who have the potential to become future leaders is one of the more important responsibilities of seasoned wildland firefighters. Of course the same principle applies in other fields as well. The award winning actor Kevin Spacey has been doing this for years through his Kevin Spacey Foundation and by leading workshops to cultivate emerging artists in the performing arts.

In an interview with NBCNews he was asked what motivated him to get involved in mentoring young artists. He said:

Jack Lemmon – who was my mentor – passed along his philosophy of “sending the elevator back down” and so I am continuing to do exactly that through the work of my Foundation.

Happy Camp Fire Complex achieves Megafire status

The huge fire on the Klamath National Forest continues to work its way across the landscape of northwest California. The Incident Management Team reports it has now burned 105,194 acres, crossing what we call the unofficial threshold of 100,000 acres to obtain the Megafire label. The Team is calling it 30 percent contained.

No residences had been damaged or destroyed on the fire until Monday, when two burned in the Scott River Road area. One of those belonged to 75-year old Nancy Hood who has been continuously staffing a fire lookout for 56 years on the Klamath National Forest. A fund has been established to help Ms. Wood in her time of need. We posted more information about the effort earlier today.

Smokejumpers warn about link between climate change and wildfires

A group of seven Montana smokejumpers have written an opinion piece that was published in the Missoulian.

Below are some excerpts:

…Scientists say that climate change has implications for wildfire danger. We believe them. Since the 1980s, Montana’s wildfire season increased by two months while average global temperatures have steadily trended upward. Climate researcher Steve Running has summarized the data this way: “Since 1986, longer, warmer summers have resulted in a fourfold increase of major wildfires and a sixfold increase in the area of forest burned, compared to the period from 1970 to 1986.” – Science, Vol. 13:927 (2006).

Drought caused by warming temperatures exacerbated the recent pine beetle infestation, which is 10 times larger than any previously recorded. Millions of dead trees provide more fuel for fires and create more risk for those on the front lines.


We know that many Montanans share our concerns about rising fire danger. While aggressive intervention in wildfires will always be needed, we also need prevention strategies – and that means dealing with climate change. Preventing climate change isn’t possible, but limiting climate change is.

Montana has abundant clean energy resources such as wind and solar power that can provide significant statewide economic benefits. We need prevention strategies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to decrease carbon pollution from the largest point sources – coal-fired power plants. We can create good-paying jobs in clean energy. We can protect our climate and our wildlands, and we can save lives, property and jobs in doing so.

Thanks and a hat tip go out to Mike.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

7 thoughts on “Wildfire briefing, September 10, 2014”

  1. I agree that discussion of anthropogenically-driven climate change can be a distraction. I would add, though, that if we assume that climate change over the next 50-100 years will involve a resumption in global warming, that we still don’t have a handle on what this will mean as regards wildfires in North America. Basically, warmer and wetter (in areas where rainfall increases) might still burn less in some instances, and more in others (such as desert getting more rainfall and therefore more dense scrub). And, conversely warmer and drier could likewise have differing local effects. I would expect wildfire to be a significant and, in economic and social terms, growing issue regardless of what the climate does do and what effect those climate changes do have on fire seasons.

  2. Bill

    Deniers or not

    Let’s look at how much smoke and climate change contributers such as wildland fire and RX burning contribute to the problem..

    Logging and cleaning out the dead and dying might reduce those smoke reports you have done…..who knows??

    Singling the coal industry and ignoring the Third World nations who even IF the UN had power in this, could admit , seems a little disigenuious (AP)

    Climate change is going to require two things:

    ONE very sound policy and not 68 agencies ideas


    A whole lot of money the US does not currently have!!!

  3. Bill:
    “Ninety-seven percent of the climate scientists agree that climate change is real, and it is caused primarily by humans.”
    Since we are attempting to deal in “facts” here, where do you get this information from?
    There are several studies that would now indicate there is nowhere near this level of “consensus” as is widely reported by the IPCC and others as it relates to anthropogenic global warming or climate change.

    1. Facts can be found at these three websites: here, here, and here.

      The Earth is round, there are no alligators in the New York City sewer, and climate change is real. In the future I’m not going to waste as much of my time explaining the facts to climate change deniers. And, this site will not serve as a platform for their ridiculous rants.

      1. Darn, Bill – there you go again! Bringing facts into the discussion, and expecting folks to accept them when it’s cool today, and it’s still summer! It’s supposed to be above average temps every day if we’re really having climate change! Bet most of them Climate Change Scientists were born in Kenya, too?

  4. I was a firefighter in southern Cal if. in the 1970’s and 80’s and grew up there in the 60’s. I would remember when my mother would say we had to stay inside until it cooled off below 100 degrees every afternoon during the summers. This climate change crap is nothing. I have not seen heat lightning since the 60’s over the San Bernardino mountains. People have a very short memory or selective one. The drought of the 70’s, we had no snow from Mex. to the Oregon line the winters of 75-76 and 76-77. Doesn’t anybody remember that? Dr. George Fishbeck showed the satellite photos all winter long.

    1. Gary, your stories are interesting, but we attempt to deal in facts at Wildfire Today. Some of them have been covered earlier here, here, and here. Ninety-seven percent of the climate scientists agree that climate change is real, and it is caused primarily by humans.

      “Heat lightning” is simply ordinary, distant lightning that may illuminate a cloud that is between the lightning and the observer. You may not hear the thunder because it is too far away. Wikipedia explains it like this:

      Heat lightning is the name used for the faint flashes of lightning on the horizon or other clouds from distant thunderstorms that do not have accompanying sounds of thunder. This happens because the lightning occurs very far away and the sound dissipates before it reaches the observer. The term is a little misleading because it has nothing to do with the heat of the lightning itself.


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